Council makes it easy to have say on plan

​22 February 2018 

Waipa District Council will launch a massive campaign from mid-March to encourage residents and ratepayers to have their say on Council's spending plans for the next decade.

The district's draft 10-Year Plan will be formally released on 15 March outlining what Council intends spending, and when. Elected councillors are expected to sign off on the draft at the Council meeting next Tuesday (27 February).

Council has already foreshadowed some proposals including a $743 million investment in capital projects, major investments in heritage, potential support for a new sport and recreation centre at Ohaupo and a massive investment in core waters infrastructure.

Provision has been made for community projects including $11.8 million on cycleways and walkways and $3.6 million towards a new town centre for Te Awamutu.  

Based on draft numbers, Council is looking at an average annual rates rise over the next 10 years of 1.53 per cent per year.  Water charges will no longer be included in rates bills from July 2018. Had water charges been included in rates bills, the average annual rates increase would be about 2.28 per cent. 

Communication and engagement manager Natalie Palmer said Council would make it as easy as possible for people to share their views. The website would be live from mid-March and information would continue to be pumped out via the Council's Facebook page, she said.  The website would include an online calculator showing exactly what rates would be based on the proposals.

But it was not just about digital channels. Staff and elected members would be visible in the community, engaging with people face-to-face at multiple community markets and events.  Targeted meetings had been offered to groups like Grey Power and Chambers of Commerce and the Council was working hard to ensure a broader range of voices were heard, she said. School visits were also planned. 

"Along with providing a traditional printed plan, we're also using tools like VR goggles to show how the Te Awamutu town centre might look.  We've gone out and talked to very young people and older people about their hopes for the district," she said.

"We're sharing those videos and they have stimulated a lot of discussion already.  We've also made some videos fronted by people from community because this is not a council story, it's a community story."

Council has just offered another eight free discovery bus tours on both sides of the district to help people understand Waipā​'s heritage and think about the future, she said.  The tours are expected to be booked out.

Advertisements in print, online and on local radio will urge people to get involved. Copies of the draft 10-Year Plan consultation document will be available online with printed copies also available at Council offices and libraries. 

"If anyone wants a copy posted to them, just call Council and we'll happily do that."

Palmer said it would hard for people not to know consultation on the Plan was open, but it was up to individuals to step up and have their say.

"We'll make it as easy as possible for people to contribute but we can't do it for them."

Page reviewed: 28 Feb 2018 3:21pm